Advent with the Angels
This was written for the church bulletin 11.18.18:
God’s Word is living and always relevant to our lives in this moment. Each reading this Sunday draws attention to the presence of angels in the Sacred Liturgy and in the story of salvation. Next Sunday is the final Sunday of the Church year, Christ the King. So, the end times are on our hearts and minds as we will soon transition into a new liturgical year! Angels are often associated with birth and death as they are mysterious times in our human experience.
After each Mass, we pray for the intercession of St. Michael the Archangel. Tradition teaches us that God announced to the angels that He was going to become man and be born of a woman. While most angels honored God’s plan, Satan rebelled against God’s will and fell from heaven. He brought a third of the angels with him and began to prowl the world looking for more souls. Michael, who was in the next to last choir of angels shouted, “who is like unto God?” His obedient faith gave him a new role of reigning over all nine of the angelic choirs.
The Book of Daniel tells us that Michael helped Daniel and will protect all of God’s children in the end times. The Book of Revelation adds that Michael will greet us at the gates of Heaven.
In the passage we hear from Daniel today, we are told that Michael is the “great prince” that will help us escape a world “unsurpassed in distress.” The one guarantee in life is that we will suffer. It’s how we respond to the suffering that brings meaning to each day. This reminds me of the doxology that is said between the Lord’s Prayer and the Sign of Peace at each Mass.
Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil, graciously grant peace in our days, that, by the help of your mercy, we may be always free from sin and safe from all distress, as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
The Catholic Church celebrates Mass every day of the year (with the exception of a communion service on Good Friday). Before we reach the end of time, we are asked to give up one hour to God each week to remember His love for us. Not because God needs this hour, but because WE need this hour. God wants to gift us with time to pause, to listen, to offer up, to give thanks, and to join with our brothers and sisters.
In the 2nd reading we hear, “every priest stands daily at his ministry, offering frequently those same sacrifices that can never take away sins… for by one offering he has made perfect forever those who are being consecrated.” At each Eucharistic Liturgy, we participate in the meeting of heaven and earth in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament to remember Christ’s one and perfect offering of Himself on the Cross. Chronos (our sense of time) and Kairos (God’s time) unite in an astonishing way as all of the angels and saints (including our loved ones who have passed) glorify God right beside us in praise and thanksgiving. We are truly part of the communion of saints!
Angels guide, protect, and deliver messages from God to us. The Good News in the Gospel of Mark today is that “God will send out the angels and gather his elect…Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” God has an army of angels and saints that combat evil in the world. Not even the angels know the will of God, so together we can surrender our own wills and obey and glorify God for His undying love for us.